I am currently very blessed to be able to work and further my education from home, but it hasn’t always been so. I know firsthand the struggles with balancing work/family/home/school life.
I started out my adult life as a single mother at the age of 18. I was in college studying to be a nurse and working part time as a CNA.
Through the years my varied employment included part time work, stay at home mom working one weekend a month, full time work away from home as well as juggling multiple jobs.
Child care has also ranged from me being the sole caregiver, daycare, family caregivers as well as latch-key kids.
Furthering my education has also ranged from full time, part time, campus based as well as online based schooling.
That’s a lot to juggle.
I’ve found that the only way to manage all of this is ROUTINES.
Just like there are schedules to follow at work, there should be routines at home. It really does make life easier.
Get the kids involved in the planning of the routines. When the kids are involved in the everyday matters, things tend to run more smoothly. They will feel part of the family and they will be more likely to participate without much objection when they are a part of the decisions.
For example: At one time there was a need for me to post on the fridge a list of consequences for actions. Posted right there in the middle of the house where all could see and be reminded. The kids all helped with coming up with “fair” punishments for a few specific problems that were getting out of control. So when an issue would arise, they knew exactly what the consequence would be and couldn’t argue with it because they picked it!! There were also rewards chosen and written if there were no problems in a given amount of time. It worked great! For awhile.
Of course routines change just as often as our lives tend to, but there are a hand full of things that shouldn’t:
Weekly schedule planning – See my previous post “How to Weekly Schedule Plan”. Put it on the calendar for all to see. My kids love making their own as well.
Meal planning– when you know exactly what is for dinner, you can preplan. In the morning take meat out of the freezer; start the crockpot if needed… I always ask each kid to pick a meal each week. When the day comes that we’re having the dinner they picked they tend to want to help prepare it. Win, win! See “$10 Meals in Less Than 30 Minutes.”
Household chore assignments– I have a large dry-erase calendar on the fridge that shows each day who is responsible for what. Myself included. (When they see Mom included it feels more like a joint effort) We all alternate doing 4 major daily chores. Saturday’s we pick out of a hat/jar/bowl additional chores that need to be done weekly. All ages can do chores. My kids were washing dishes at 4 years old. No lie.
Homework time– After dinner is homework time around here. Everyone (including me) finds a spot at the table and does their homework. It’s really neat when a younger child has a question about their work that an older one helps out with. Hey, this new curriculum gets me confused sometimes. If you have no homework- Read a book.
Bed time– As they get older, they WANT to go to bed earlier. I KNOW!! Baffling. But that’s ok, because when they are all in bed I get a few minutes of “me” time.
Morning routine– If this doesn’t run smoothly I get calls all day long asking to deliver forgotten items to school. “What would you do if I didn’t work from home?!” **Sigh**
What helps you conquer chaos?